The true meaning of 13.1


Commentary by Heather Kestian

May 18, 2013, will go down in my history books as one of the best days in my recent memory. This was the day I started the Geist Half Marathon – and finished.

More than 11 months ago, I told myself I would get back in shape and run again. I have shared many stories of how I struggled with my weight and health over the past few years. With help and support from my husband, I was able to put my plan of running into action and pounded the pavement around Hamilton County.

Some days I think I am a hot mess of emotions and May 18, 2013, was no different. I always get emotional at the start line of any road race. I cannot help but look around at the crowd. I remind myself of the grit and determination it takes to run 13.1 miles, particularly when there is no cheetah giving chase. I look around to my fellow runners and think: we have been preparing for this for months and the moment has arrived for us to run.

The beginning of the half marathon was truly picturesque. We were strategically positioned toward the back of the field and looked out over Geist Reservoir. The fly over from the World War II planes really did not help keep my eyes dry. I moved my sunglasses from my head to shield my overflowing emotions from the crowd. This is my moment – I finally feel alive again.

The Geist Half Marathon was a great course. Running along the reservoir and through beautiful neighborhoods with great community support was inspiring. In fact, around mile 5, there was a fantastic group of individuals offering adult beverages to runners. There were numerous children giving out high fives along the course and cheering us on. I am forever appreciative of the people who came out of their homes on a rainy Saturday morning with their radios to support the runners with wonderful music.

While the course was hilly (not Tennessee hilly, but hillier than my practice routes in Fishers), it was also absolutely gorgeous. For the first few miles, the course meandered down some hills. I thought that it wasn’t so bad. But what goes down, must come up. We started back uphill at mile 8 with the appropriately named “Courageous Drive.” At the base of this monster, I said to myself “God, grant me the courage to get up this thing.” And I did, and I finished in less than three hours. 

I cannot tell you how often I was overwhelmed by the gravity of moving 13.1 miles in a single day. The highlight of this running journey isn’t that I finished the half marathon on May 18, 2013, it was that I started training all those months ago.

What will you begin today?

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